Struggling with Depression

I am taking a break from writing about fun stuff like failed relationships, RVing, reality TV and my hatred of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I’m going to discuss my life a bit and a one-time battle I had with what I figure is depression. I’m going to tell you what I believed triggered it, what happened while I was fully into it and what got me out of it.

I had a telephone discussion with an ex. Mistake because she blames me leaving her for the misery she finds herself in these days. In fact, she finds great pleasure in letting me know all the crap she’s been through is not a result of her refusal to work full time like us savages, but due to the lack of support I gave her. Ok. Normally that wouldn’t ¬†bother me, but this session was different. She blamed me for her not having any children. She told me she wanted to have three children and now she’s too old to have any (she is).

That made me feel bad. Then I thought sticking around her essentially ended my family line. She didn’t say so, but getting pregnant would have been difficult for her. And the fact of the matter is if she truly wanted to have a kid, we would have. Bottom line, you generally start kids with intercourse, and we weren’t having it. At least not with each other.

Anyway, I thought more about it until I could barely do anything. I would go to work, come home and get right into bed. I would lay there and let these “waves of blue” crash into me. Only after talking to a friend did I realize what was happening. She suggested I go see a therapist, which I did not. I was barely functioning but hardly anyone knew.

What got me through it? My cats. I did not always like cats. In fact, I never wanted to be around them. My cats took care of me. One of our cats would curl up next to me while I was in the fetal position. He would sleep next to me and purr. Our other cat, the anti social one, soon became much more friendly. Before long, both of them would come upstairs, get next to me and purr while my life was going into the tank.

Thats why I’m going to cry like a baby when my cats go. I really really owe them.

What snapped me out? Nothing in particular except a desire to get out of the pity party. I did. It was time to stop feeling sorry for myself and start doing something.

Not everyone can do that. Hardly anyone can do that. It’s very hard. Depression is a mo—- f—-r. It can hurt you badly.

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Houston Is A Problem

Are you seeing where Houston TX is being inundated by rain from Hurricane Harvey?

National Weather Service radar:

Having been through a number of these storms in different locales, I want to give some insight:

  1. Not everyone in Houston is getting inundated by floodwater: It’s the nation’s 4th largest city and it’s not going away. Most people there are going to be fine, the ones who are not are in truly dire circumstances. It’s not going to get better right away, in fact, it’s likely to get much worse.
  2. There’s no chance to evacuate the city at this point. The time for that is long past. People should have took off Thursday last week. We know evacuating Houston is much more difficult than anyone would have believed, and it was already believed to be damn near impossible. Besides, people who could leave would just pack up the car, hook up the RV and go to Dallas or San Antonio. As was the case in Rita, most persons capable of departing, left.
  3. Those people who have difficulty in departing are the ones in the greatest trouble.
  4. Texas does not believe in civic planning: If you buy a home here, you had best believe you are on your own. Things that many of us East Coasters took for granted don’t happen here. For example, storm drains. Since it doesn’t rain often here, Texas doesn’t plan for things like flooding, or for that matter, earthquakes. When they happen, it’s just viewed as the Will of God and something we will have to get over.
  5. There will be plenty of finger pointing: The Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott encouraged residents of Houston to evacuate. The call to evacuate was before the rain got going. The Mayor and local officials recommended against leaving, and now they are looking like idiots. Many of you don’t know or remember this, but in 2005, Houston conducted the largest evacuation of an American city, in response to Hurricane Rita. That storm was nowhere close in severity as this Harvey disaster, but was coming on the heels of the Katrina catastrophe.
  6. San Antonio is the nation’s capital for disaster response: We are better equipped to handle this or any other disaster short of nuclear exchange than anyone else in the country. If you’re in the southern U.S., you’re coming here in response to your disaster. Our city’s response to the Katrina disaster is an example for all cities to emulate.¬† Anyway, for 48 hours, we believed we were going to suffer from a Harvey associated deluge. As usual, those weather forecasts were wrong. San Antonio is 150 miles inland. A flood here is big news because while we get local flooding, it’s nothing like a coastal city like Galveston or Houston (~ 25 miles from the coast) is going to see. Those include storm surge. San Antonio will get its storms, but it won’t go partially underwater like Houston is now.

Those things said, we are praying for our friends in Houston now. It is going to have some hard days ahead.

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One Good Team, One Bad Team and Regression

Watched some preseason football this past weekend. Saw a couple of teams that jumped out to me. One’s going to be a good team, one’s going to be bad. One team’s going to slip a bit,

No real surprise here, but Seattle’s going to contend for a Super Bowl. Their defense jumps off the screen, even when watching their backups. Their offense Is respectable, and their special teams are back to being special teams. What’s more, rumors of dissention in their locker room seem to be overblown; at least as of this time. They are going to be a tough out for whomever they meet in the playoffs. Did I mention Michael Bennett, Bobby Wagner, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman rank as legitimate Hall of Fame candidates? 

The team I think is going to be bad is the Los Angeles Chargers. I don’t think Anthony Lynn is going to have much success there. Remember when Lynn prevented Phillip Rivers and Antonio Gates from attending Tomlinson’s Hall of Fame presentation? He wanted him to be there for his first practice in Los Angeles. When you’re looking at veterans like Phillip Rivers — your best and most important player —  and treating him as if he’s a rookie, you’re headed for trouble. I can’t see a team responding well when you can’t show respect for your veterans right off the bat. Bringing in players like Cardale Jones and giving them roster spots won’t help. He’s a project? He was a project at Ohio State. He also said he was going to Ohio State to play football. At what point does a player get the sport?

I’m watching the Oakland Raiders. A lot of folks are predicting them to go deep into the playoffs. I’m seeing the defense as terrible and not getting good enough to get them to the Super Bowl. I’m watching their draft picks, acquisitions and seeing their efforts to build a Seahawks Jr defense. It’s absurd and it’s failing just like it should. Last night, they made Jared Goff look like a superstar. Like we wrote earlier, Seattle has four potential Hall of Famers on the defensive side of the ball. You can see the Seahawks have defensive players who love football. The Raiders are counting on guys like Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu. These guys went to the beginning of training camp in a struggle over contracts. You know, the pre-slotted contracts where everyone knows how much they are going to get paid. Melifonwu was for a time the only non-1st rounder left unsigned. Once signed, he immediately came up lame.

A lot of Raiders blogs talked about how good Melifonwu — a workout warrior — is going to be. The guy has barely practiced. Gareon Conley has not seen even the practice field since minicamp. The Raiders counted on those two big time. Despite them being my favorite team, I don’t see them as improved over last season, and they have an even more difficult schedule. 

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Kaepernick

What’s the bottom line in the NFL? How does your team decide to keep or get rid of players? Is it winning? Is it only winning, or is it image?

It’s some of both, but you cannot have a controversial player on your team. Controversial means activist; evidently you can have a coach who writes endorsements for a candidate and that’s fine. However some teams have players — quarterbacks — who have proven themselves as failures, and apparently that’s ok too, as long as they are non-controversial. BSP views the scrub quarterback who allegedly knows the offense but can’t actually execute it as the highest form of affirmative action.

When Blaine Gabbert & Matt McGloin can get jobs in the NFL, and they’ve lost nearly every game they started — saying a Colin Kaepernick can’t fit into your system is a joke. 

A team brings in Jay Cutler for $10M a season. The same Jay Cutler who may/may not have QUIT on his team in a conference championship game. You tell me its only about winning? LOL. Again, no it’s not. Teams not signing Kaepernick  is clearly fan reaction about Kap’s alleged disrespect to the flag … and to veterans like myself. 

That’s a real LOL. Get serious. Especially since some of these teams like the Jets were making DoD PAY them to honor vets during games. Yes, the military had to pay teams to give the NFL the privilege and image of supporting war veterans.  This isn’t heard from anyone other than the Washington Post, the nation’s best newspaper because they don’t give a f about protecting sacred cows.

Get over yourselves and let Kap play.

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Getting your RV Ready

Before getting into it, if you have any ideas on preparing an RV for a lengthy tour, please leave a message or a URL to your blog. Anything that helps is, well, a help,

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the closing of Gander Mountain. It’s finally down to the last week of our local store, and I’ve taken full advantage of it. I’ve purchased waterproof hiking boots, steel toe boots and comfortable cold weather clothing. We are again making a fall trip to the Northern United States. By the way, those Lacrosse boots I linked to are awesome goodness,  comfortable safety boots. I think I got them for an unheard of $56. 

I am personally ready for the trip. In fact, I think I’m packed already. Now I have to prepare the RV. For that effort, I’m calling upon our dealership to check out the vehicle. They have a deal: three services and you get one free. It’s going to wind up being about $350 – $400 (!) I’m wondering about the true value of the services, because all appears well right now.

The air conditioner check is mandatory, because you can’t RV in Texas without a/c. Well, you can but life will absolutely suck in a hot ass box. It’s possible if you are one of those restaurant patio dwellers; the people who eat outside when it’s 98 degrees and bugs flying everywhere, when it’s cool, bug-free and empty inside. One of my colleagues says no a/c isn’t too bad. He’s making it up. It’s essential for us southern dwellers.

Next is the furnace. If you are going north in Fall, you should have a working furnace … or a lot of blankets and sleeping bags. When we went to Yellowstone, the temperatures dropped into the 20’s our first night. We had heard RV’s don’t use much propane. We found out that was false, ours went through the remainder of our 1st can that night. It was 52 degrees in our trailer that morning. My menopausal wife was like, oh, this is great! No it wasn’t. Seeing your breath in your trailer is not great! The propane isn’t a big deal, but our center vent in the floor blows no air. Never has, including last year when we had it checked. We need to figure it out, whether it’s a fault or we don’t know how to make it work.

Roof patching: A critical issue with RVs is the roof and the potential for leaks. We keep ours parked underneath a roof so we wouldn’t know whether it leaked until we took it on a trip and it rained. So the dealer will look at the roof and patch it if they see a potential leak.

Water heater: the water heater is about the last problem you want on a trip. In fact, I created a problem when I didn’t turn the cold water valve after I sanitized the water system. An icy shower changes your mind about a lot of things in a hurry. A clean and operational water heater is a necessity, especially if you cook your own meals.

One option for us is a refrigerator check, but I think we will pass this time. We haven’t had much of a problem with the refrigerator, plus we carry a Pelican cooler. I should mention this: Pelican coolers IMHO are better than Yetis. The military uses Pelican equipment downrange (AFG, Iraq). They are tough as hell and made in the USA. They are not cheap and they are not lightweight, but they are as good as I could find.

 One thing I thought about was ICE. I do not use ice in our cooler, I use ice packs. 

Tundra ice pack


While these babies do not get down into every crevice, they are colder than ice. These Tundra ice packs are at 5 degrees. Ice packs are much less messy and you can reuse them. In fact you can use your freezer to re-freeze the ice packs. No ice water to pour out at the end of a trip, and it’s easier to clean out the cooler. Good ice packs are not cheap either. You get what you pay for, though. We bought cheap $2 ice packs and after a couple of uses, some kind of goo was coming out of a couple of them.

A second option for us is packing wheel bearings. I spoke to a RV service manager near us. He told  us they would do the work but it would be unnecessary unless we had been traveling in the 80-100,000 mile range. We have travelled closer to 8,000 miles. So we’ll pass on that. 

Tire checks are mandatory. I run the trailer by Discount Tire for a pressure check and tire inspection no more than three days before departure. What they do is cursory but gives us a feeling of security. If there is a problem, they will replace the tire. I’m never going to say this for sure helps us but I think it does: Never inflate the tires to the maximum air pressure or you will have problems. I underinflate them by about 10 percent. The tires typically will heat up due to road friction; if they are already at the max … expect problems. You don’t want to get into the engineering of the tires and “red lines.” Especially RV tires since they are cheap Chinese tires anyway. If Michelin made tires for my RV I would buy a set immediately.

I used to seriously baby the tires before we put the RV under the roof. I used to drive my RV onto some wood boards to get them up off the asphalt. My theory is, this kept the tires from getting heated up and weakened by sitting in the same place for long periods of time. A colleague stated RV tires are engineered for sitting but what I was doing was smart because of moisture. Water is the enemy of tires. By getting the tires off the asphalt, it prevented lengthy exposure to water when it rains. That’s something I should resume doing.

Always check your lights before departure. Due to military service, I always do light and brake  checks on the tow vehicle and RV while we are at home.

One of my colleagues noticed a turn signal on his RV didn’t work, so he replaced the bulb. It still didn’t work so he started spark chasing. After determining his RV lights worked, he found his tow vehicle (Ram 1500) has a separate circuit for the trailer lights and it had blown a fuse. The turn signal on the truck still worked but not the one powering the RV turn signal. Easy fix, but not so easy to resolve.

Again, if you have any helpful tips, I’d certainly appreciate them.

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I Considered Climbing Mount Everest


Photo by Getty

Isn’t it beautiful? Awe inspiring?

I once had a strong desire towards climbing Mount Everest. I knew I had the physical and mental capability for making that trip, successfully climbing to the top of the mountain and actually getting down off the mountain, an utterly overlooked process. 

I visited a friend in San Antonio in the early 2000’s; while there I saw the movie inspired by Jon Krakauer’s book,  “Into Thin Air.” After that viewing, I said “f*** that.” The first being that people can and do die up there, even without screwing up. Bad weather, a step in the wrong place, an earthquake … you are dead. Not only do you die, hundreds of other people now making that trip see your frozen lifeless corpse there, unable to be moved due to the difficult task of removing the carcass. Oh, did I mention the wind, and the chance to pay > $50,000 to die there? Like I said, f that.
I once had a climb of Mount Everest on my bucket list. No more. Brave, gifted climbers have an eternal resting place on that mountain. I decided I didn’t want it to be the last thing  done on my bucket list. I’d take up just about anything else before 8500 meter mountain climbing.

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The Current Top Five List of Giant Bags

Otherwise known as the Douchebag Hall of Fame, As you know, this blog pays attention to people who are big douchebags. Some of these people are well accomplished. Most are famous for talking, and especially for their often off-base statements. Virtually all of them are “That Guy. You know, the jerk.”

How do you know someone’s a giant bag? There’s no set criterion. YOU KNOW. The thing is, they are so easy to tell. Our main problem is narrowing the list down to a small select few. One way is by eliminating politicians. You have to be a gas bag to be a politician, whether you are or not. People automatically like or dislike you. 

An actor or musician is fair game, but they have to be special. Actor Y leaving the country because X gets elected is a douche move but so many of them give their unwanted opinions, it’s hard for one to stand out.

A female bag? It’s almost impossible. Females take image too seriously to come off being a douche. 

Without further ado, let’s get to the Big Five:

5. Stephen A. Smith

We loved Stephen A., until he became Screamin’ A. Dude, that’s a microphone in front of you. It’s there so you can be heard. As anti-Cowboys as I am, and I am, his screed after the Cowboys latest playoff failure … the loss to Green Bay where he created an entire show over the latest “disaster waiting to happen” … was, although a glorious start eventually too much, even for me. It’s true not every white person who does something jacked up is a flaming racist, either.

4. Skip Bayless

ESPN

Everyone knows Skip Bayless is a giant douche, but he revels in his baggery. Absolutely celebrates it. His glory years were with Stephen A. on First Take, so that’s how they get 5th and 4th place on this list. Skip targets LeBron James, one of the greatest basketball players if not the greatest basketball player in history, on a regular basis. Such senseless takes quite clearly make him a bag in our book.

Skip’s undying love for the Dallas Cowboys bumps him up ahead of Smith. That and his belief (although unstated) Troy Aikman was/is gay works him up the list. Not that being gay is a bad thing, but if he was, Troy could have told us himself.

3. Jerry Jones

A no doubt about it, first ballot Douchebag Hall of Famer, Jones has actually been elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So goes the belief that halls of Fame (besides this one) mean anything. It’s a total joke, because the only thing he did was make them more money off a sport that virtually was a billion dollar printing press. I wonder if they’ll pull him from the Hall when the league’s ratings begin to tumble even further. 

No one likes a camera on his face more than Jones. For our sake, we wish he’d turn away from the camera in order to keep tears out of our eyes. When Douche Nation becomes a country, Jerry Jones’ face is going to be on the hundred bag bill.

2. LaVar Ball

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The fact he had children and they appear to be somewhat successful does not make him a good parent. The fact Ball is marketing them like they are the Second Coming makes him a gigantic douche. By anyone’s standard, LaVar Ball is a first rate douche. He accelerates his baggery into the stratosphere by making claims which simply are not true. He claims he could beat Mike Jordan 1 on 1. Ok. Now he’s saying Lonzo Ball is going to get The Lakers into the playoffs. LOL.

People are rooting for Ball’s kids to fail because of him. His marketing tactic is unlikely to succeed, except among people who want to sell Ball’s overpriced stuff on EBay as a collectors item. It is rare to see someone skyrocket to the top of this list, far past luminaries like Phil Jackson, Kevin Durant, Coach K., Daniel Snyder and Chad (any guy named Chad is a bag). LaVar Ball makes it look easy.

1. Alex Rodriguez

Pay-Rod the Juice is at the top of this DB list. He’s the Babe Ruth of Bag-dom. Not only is he a first ballot DB Hall of Famer, he’s the first person into the DB Hall of Fame. Did you know Rodriguez made almost $400 million playing baseball? What makes that number even more astounding is the fact he made nearly $100 million more than the next highest paid player! Although at BSP HQ, his pay really doesn’t matter. BSP believes if you get paid, you deserve to be paid.

It’s all (bad) attitude. How do you cheat on J-Lo? It’s not possible to us, not even something that should be considered. But Pay-Rod the Juice not only cheated on one of BSP’s world’s most beautiful women, he cheated baseball by jabbing himself with Beef-Roids, allegedly cheated on his wife Cynthia with Madonna and now allegedly cheated on J-Lo. The guy has no boundaries. 

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Your First RV Should Be Used

One of my coworkers is a blabbermouth and thinks he knows everything. He keeps telling me, anyone else who would listen and some that don’t if you’re getting an RV, your first one should be used.

He rarely if ever follows up with answers like “why?”

I thought about it because my first RV was a new one, and I’ve never regretted it. Meanwhile, he purchased a used RV, a 5th wheel and it gave him all kinds of problems. Once he was towing it and the awning deployed. Yes, the awning. He had to find some tie down straps and strap them around the entire trailer to get where he was going. The air conditioner kept going out … this is Texas and you can’t have that! I’ve not had a major problem with mine. 

You can indeed have problems with your first RV if it is new, but you have to know the systems. If you have mechanical ability or you are a good student in that area, you’re probably going to be ok.

I carry a tote containing spare parts for RV systems. Check this out: we had our lock go bad, and   we couldn’t get in the thing. We did manage to break into it, but once we got inside, we couldn’t open the door. While my wife took apart the lock from the inside, I retrieved the spare lock I had in that tote. We installed it and it was like nothing happened. 

You have to be ready for stuff like that.

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